April 14, 2020
As some of you saw on Facebook yesterday, in the before time, I would have finished up my ski season on Sunday and then flown out on Monday (yesterday) for the big trip Mr. Karen and I had planned to Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, and Hawaii. Obviously none of that happened or is going to happen any time soon. My ski season has been over for nearly a month, and I am not now in Sydney having my first experiences on Australian soil. I realize what a place of privilege I am in that I have this to be sad about in the midst of a pandemic that’s killing thousands of people and putting millions at risk. Yet still I am sad. The trip was over a year in the planning, coordinating with cousins from the DC area (coincidentally both of whom have had what is presumed to have been COVID-19 though given the awful state of testing in this country they probably won’t ever know for sure), arranging to meet online friends, making all those decisions that would have added up to an experience we’d remember for the rest of our lives. When the world settles into whatever the new normal is we may get to do some of the things we had planned but I can’t see being able to put them all together in the way we had for this trip.
In the now time, we’re doing what we’ve been doing: staying at home, stretching the interval between grocery store trips as much as possible, getting out to walk or snow shoe most days (there is still snow here, including some fresh as recently as this past Saturday). I’ve also been doing less healthy things, like fuming about folks coming in from out of town (and out of state) to ski, either in the back country or on the closed runs at the resort. I mean, look at all these tracks that appeared after the last big snow storm â€¦ the resort is closed, there is no avalanche control or ski patrol, yet people are riding ATVs or hiking up and continuing to ski. Sure, the chances they’ll get injured and need to use our public safety and health care resources are small, but they are not zero, and by traveling from areas with higher infection rates to our little mostly rural country they put us at greater risk. Ugh.
We wore masks on our most recent grocery shopping expedition; I dug out some fabric from the boxes in the studio and used some elastic shoe laces for the ear loops since that was the first stretchy material of suitable size I could put my hands on. Based on that first use, I’ve since made Mr. Karen a different style of mask that I hope will stay in place better on his facial geometry. And yes, for now at least we are still going to the grocery store together, which is probably making some people fume about us, asking themselves why we aren’t doing the “one person, one cart” approach that’s recommended by many health officials to keep the number of people in the store to a minimum. If one of us went, we’d likely have to pull out our phone to call and get clarification on something on the list, which isn’t great either, and would extend the time we’re in the store. Given that we use a paper list and don’t touch twice as many things as we would if only one of us was shopping, I feel okay about it. Of course, two weeks ago I felt okay about going to the store without a mask, so who knows what I’ll be thinking when we next head out to stock up.
I hope those of you reading are weathering this pandemic as well as possible. It’s sometimes hard to know what to do, how to cope, and we all just have to do the best we can. I look at some of my neighbors posting on the local Facebook groups, and some of their best really doesn’t seem very good to meâ€”posting links to conspiracy theory videos on YouTube, ranting about their rights that are being violated, etc.â€”but I’m trying to think about them with compassion. They’re worried too; they’re just handling it differently than I am. I just hope their handling of it doesn’t endanger the rest of us.